Monthly Archives: April 2012

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Medium: Audiobook

Divergent by it’s very definition means drawing apart from a common point. I only gave this book 3 stars due to the fact that it was anything but divergent from many other popular female character based YA dystopian fiction.

The book centers around a 16 year old girl named Beatrice who lives with her family in 1 of 5 factions. In a coming of age ceremony she has to choose 1 of the factions as her home where she will live and work during her adult life. Of course, all is not as peaceful as it seems and it’s up to Beatrice to save the day.

The book was well written and action packed with most of the chapters spent on her initiation period and the trials and tribulations of fitting in. She deals with friendships, love, bullying and literally faces some of her greatest fears. It was interesting to see her go from weak to empowered. From shying away from intimacy to craving it.

But, it seemed so familiar that at times a felt like tuning out. I felt like I already read parts of it. From all the hype, I was expecting more. There weren’t enough plot twists, no shocking revelations and was fairly predictable.

It was really good. Just not different enough to stand out and make me say “WOW”.


Spring Reading Outdoors

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It’s a beautiful day outside today here in PA. A great day to take a book outside and enjoy the lovely Spring weather. I must say, I’m enjoying it even more with my vodka and coke! Hey, everybody deserves a treat now and then right? Have a great Spring day!


Worst Book – 1st Quarter of 2012 -Second Chance Romance by Asrai Devin

Ok. I decided to nominate 1 book each quarter as the worst book I have read so far. The first quarter’s winner is Second Chance Romance by Asrai Devin. I downloaded this as a free Kindle title. The book is about Kip and Mandy who were High School sweethearts, haven’t seen each other for years, and are reunited. The story was very good. However, this book gets the worst rating due to the terrible and tremendous mistakes within the written word to the point of distraction. Seriously, I don’t think this book was ever proof read or edited in any way. Some sentence don’t make sense, words are spelled wrong and the punctuation is sometimes just missing. Good thing it was free. 🙂 Have you read any books that seem to have skipped proof? What’s your worst read for the year so far?

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New to the ToDo: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

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Last week I read an article showcasing a new book by Nell Freudenberger called The Newlyweds. It’s the story of a woman from Bangladesh who moves to America to become the wife of a New Yorker. The premise sounded so interesting to me. Moving to a new country to marry a man you hardly know takes a real leap of faith. One the I’m sure could make a wonderfully interesting read. I thought the cover was very eye catching as well. I added it to my growing to-read list. Will you?

Read the Entertainment Weekly Review Here

Listen to a NY Times Interview with Nell Freudenberger About Her New Book Here

Read More About The Newlyweds On Goodreads


To Read or Not to Read.

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Book Review: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

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Book Review: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
Medium: Paperback

I loved this book. It’s the first in a popular series that stars Mrs. Pollifax. Mrs. Pollifax is a lovely lady who loves her children and grandchildren but since becoming a widow is feeling a bit like she doesn’t matter. She lives a nice life in New Jersey but hasn’t ever really been out of her comfort zone. She’s not a seasoned traveler and doesn’t even have a passport. She ends up getting hired by the CIA for an easy courier job that requires a 3 week vacation in Mexico. All goes well up until the time she’s initiates the planned visit to pick up the “package” for the CIA.

Adventures beyond her wildest dreams, or nightmares, ensue as she’s wisked across the globe where her every fiber is tested in ways she could never even imagine.

I gave this book 4 stars. The writing in this book is superb. There were a few twists and turns and a lot of laughs. Mrs. Pollifax is such a wonderful character. She’s you typical grandmotherly type and is east to relate to. I felt as if I were on the adventure with her watching as she realized just how strong and full of potential she truly is. One of my favorite things about her is the fact that she has a conscious. Whenever she has to do anything remotely shady she thinks of what her garden club and pastor might think of her if they knew.

Even the minor characters in this book were memorable. Locations were easy to visualize with details described through Mrs. Pollifax.

I liked how the author tied up all the loose ends at the end.

If your enjoy The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, I think you with definitely enjoy this book.


Book Haul Bonanza

Used book stores are a great place to pick-up some amazing deals on great books. Unfortunately, I only have 1 near me, being the country bumpkin I am. The one I patronize is a small mainly homeschool book store. They rely on book donations with proceeds benefiting relief and development work. Even though their main focus is homeschool books, they usually have a very nice section of gently used fiction and romance. I visit every couple of weeks to see whats new. Sometimes I don’t find anything that interests me or my mood but other times I find some great books. On this last visit I spent a total of $5 and got the following books:

Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Princess in the Tower by Alison Weir
A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham

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Do you have a local bookstore near you where you can buy used books? Any great finds?


Book Review: Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

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Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Medium: Audible Audiobook

First off, celebrity biographies and memoirs are not a genre I normally read. I probably can count on one hand what I’ve read and those have been mostly comedians. Second, I don’t really have any connection with Rob Lowe as a fan. I was too young to remember any of his early stardom and haven’t seen any of his major roll movies or watched his stint on The West Wing. My memories of Rob Lowe extend only to brief glimpses in Wayne’s World and Austin Powers and of course everybody’s heard of The Brat Pack.

I decided to give this a go because:
1. My Goodreads Group, Bookworm Bitches, choose this as one of the books for the month of April.
2. Rob Lowe himself was the narrator on this audiobook version.
3. He looks so handsome on the cover I felt I wanted to know more than just his pretty face.

This book was so much fun to listen to! It was like watching a movie you haven’t seen for a decade only to realize that there are so many actors in it that are now famous but had not been at the time. He seemed genuine and honest about his childhood and was ok with mentioning all those imperfections that made him who he is.

He did name drop a lot. I have read other reviews that have mentioned this. I did feel at times it was a bit excessive, especially when he talked about the Sheens. Although, I think it was a part of what made the book so interesting. He gave a glimpse at what other actors where like in their youthful beginnings. I especially liked hearing about Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze.

He did seem a little bit bitter about his West Wing days. I didn’t feel like we got the whole story.

I Googled many things from this book, from movies he mentioned to scandals he glanced over. I’m looking forward to watching the Outsiders now!

I gave this book 4 stars. It was fast and a great pace. The stories were light and Rob’s humor showed through. Best of all, I think it’s great when a book is so interesting it makes you look up more details from other sources and encourages you to keep reading.


Book Review: The Body Finder

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Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Medium: Audible Audiobook
http://bitly.com/ay5AhK

Violet Ambrose is your typical teenager with one exception: she can sense the dead. She’s in love with her best friend Jay and as their romantic relationship blossoms a killer is on the loose and it’s up to Violet to help find the killer.

The premise for this book really caught my attention. Murder, mystery and teenage angst. The beginning of the book starts off well and drew me in right away by showing just what Violet’s special ability is and what effect it has had on her life thus far. Violet is a nice, typical high school junior. The story doesn’t delve to much into her home life. She has loving parents who give her a good amount of freedom. Her life at school is explored very little. I was able to get a sense of the clicks and a small glimpse of what Violets girl friends are like.

I was a bit disappointed that the main focus of the book was the love story that blossoms between Violet and Jay. However, their relationship is sweet and surprisingly healthy for todays typical YA fiction.

What I thought would be the main focus, a serial killer on the loose in Violet’s hometown, seemed more of a side story. The point of view switches between Violet and the killer. The killer hunts teenage girls and hides their bodies. Violet, due to her special abilities, finds some of the bodies and is able to help locate the killer. This puts her in grave danger and at risk of becoming the killer’s prey.

I rated this 3 stars. It was an easy, interesting read. However, I felt this story held so much potential to be something greater than it was. I was expecting more suspense, the lack of which, made the story somewhat predictable. All in all a good book for this genre.


Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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Book Reviewed: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Medium: Hardcover
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7445.The_Glass_Castle

The Glass Castle is the childhood memoir of Jeannette Walls. From age 3, the author envelops the reader into the folds of her capricious family and takes a journey that is filled with both deep despair and unconditional love.
It was a fast, easy book to get through due to the excellent style of writing and the authors no non-sense way of telling the story.

As a parent many parts of this book were heartbreaking for me to read. Imagining Jeannette and her siblings put into the situations they were by parents who were, by nature, supposed to protect them. I cant imagine how hard it would have been to revisit those memories and am amazed that I was able to come to the end of the book with the realization that even after all she has been through, she still has love, compassion and humor toward those that made her young life so hard. She was able to come through it strong and determined.

I get the feeling things were even worse then she lets on. Especially, with the dynamic of her parent’s marriage, the extent of her father’s inebriated episodes and her mother’s often, what I would consider, willful neglect.

At times, I did feel a detachment between the author and the story. I think that comes from wanting to tell the story as it really was and not just her young perception of it.

I rated this book 4 stars. It was well written, totally engrossing and was a reminder that even though you may not have been given the lot in life you may have wished for, you can rise above it, shine your own star and beat the odds.


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